Some epigraphic and archaeological documents from western Anatolia during the Late Ottoman period

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  Post-Medieval Archaeology   48/2  (2014), 285–310© Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology 2014 DOI: 10.1179/0079423614Z.00000000058 285 Some epigraphic and archaeological documents from Western Anatolia during the late Ottoman period By ERGÜN LAFLI and YILDIZ DEVEC İ  BOZKU Ş   SUMMARY: The focus of this article is on the post-medieval archaeological heritage of  İ  zmir, especially during the 19th century. The material selected consists of Armenian inscriptions from  İ  zmir and its close environs, since there is a paucity of archaeological scholarship for the Armenian community of the Ottoman Empire. The paper is based on the survey of sixteen Armenian inscrip-tions across nine locations in and around  İ  zmir, with discussion of the Armenian material culture of the Late Ottoman Period, as well as transcription and translation of these inscriptions, although a history of Armenia in general is outside the scope of the article. As Armenian grave markers can be taken as active interventions in social relations, this paper offers a potential for reconstructing the social complexities of late Ottoman  İ  zmir. POST-MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL HERITAGE IN İ ZMIR AND WESTERN ANATOLIA: THE ARMENIAN MINORITYLocated in the western part of the Anatolian peninsula and lying on the coast of the Aegean Sea, İ zmir (ancient Greek Smyrna; Zmiur’nia or Zmyur’na — Զմիյռնա  or Զմյուռնիա  — in Arme-nian) is today Turkey’s third largest city (Fig. 1). The city has a long history, and was already sig-nificant in the Classical period. One of Herodotus’ several references to the city, for example, describes it as an Ionian Greek city that had previously belonged to the Aeolians. 1  It continued to be a significant urban centre under the Roman empire, and was also a significant early centre for Christi-anity, with the important early Christian figure St Polycarp of Smyrna serving as bishop in the 2nd century. 2  The history of the city in the Byzantine period is subject to disagreement. Treadgold summarizes the debate as relating to whether the city fell into post-classical obscurity until a 13th-century change in trade patterns brought about by the Fourth Crusade led to its re-emergence, or whether it had always been an important Byzan-tine city, albeit one that was subject to damaging Turkish attacks following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 and subsequent decline of Byzantine authority in Anatolia. 3  Treadgold himself supports the latter view, also listing it as only one of ten 8th-century Byzantine cities with a population over 10,000. 4  Control of the city’s important port was contested between different Christian and Turkish groups over the 14th and early 15th centuries, but it continued as an important and prosperous centre of trade after it came under definitive Ottoman control in 1426, with a cosmopolitan mix of Turkish, Greek, Jewish, Levantine, and Armenian residents. In the late 1600s, its population was estimated at around 90,000, with Turks forming the majority, but with some 15,000 Greek, 8,000 Armenian, and up to 7,000 Jewish residents (not to mention a large European merchant community). 5  The demographics did not remain static, and sources disagree as to whether Turks or Greeks were the largest ethnic group immediately before  286 ERGÜN LAFLI and   YILDIZ DEVEC İ  BOZKU Ş FIG. 1Late Ottoman Western Anatolia: places mentioned in the text (graphics, S. Patacı 2013). the First World War (with significant Armenian, Jewish and foreign populations also present). 6  However, the Greco-Turkish war of 1919–22 climaxed with the Great Fire of Smyrna in Septem-ber 1922. The latter destroyed 50–75% of the city, includ ing all of the Greek, Armenian and European quarters. 7  Since 1922 the city has been known internationally by its Turkish name İ zmir instead of its former Greek name of Smyrna.THE ARMENIANS AND SMYRNAEven though the Greek, 8  Jewish 9  and Levantine communities 10  of İ zmir and their archaeological heritage are relatively well known, the post-medieval Armenian archaeology of the city has never been investigated in a scientific manner. All previous research on the Armenian population has been historical, 11  and most of the sources have not been treated scientifically. In this article we would like to ‘make a start’ in documenting and assessing post-medieval archaeological evidence in western Turkey in a scientific fashion, 12  beginning with the Armenian heritage.The Armenians ( հայեր ) emerge from history in the 1st millenium BC, with their earliest states based in the Armenian plateau of Eastern Anato-lia. The history of the various Armenian states is complex. For much of the later Classical period Armenia was a contested borderland between the Roman Empire and the Parthian and Sassanian Empires; later, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia played a prominent role in the history of the Crusades due to its strategic position between Con-stantinople and Antioch. 13  In the post-medieval period, the Armenian heartland continued to be a borderland between different empires, this time between the Ottoman, Persian and Russian states.Classical Armenia was famously the first state to make Christianity the national religion, with King Trdat III (also known as Tiridates the Great) converting his entire country in c.  AD 301 follow-ing missionary activity by St Gregory the Illumina-tor (himself a distant cousin of the king); the distinctive Armenian alphabet was designed by the scholar-monk St Mesrop about a century after the conversion. 14  The Armenian Church is sometimes referred to as the ‘Gregorian’ church on the basis of its foundation by St Gregory; however, the Armenian Church itself rejects this term, claiming a first-century foundation by the Apostles St Bartholomew and St Thaddeus. 15  The Armenian Church split from the Imperial Roman church (that would itself later split into the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the 11th century) following the Christological controversies surrounding the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. 16  The Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church ( Հայ   Առաքելական    EPIGRAPHIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL DOCUMENTS FROM WESTERN ANATOLIA 287 Սուրբ   Եկեղեցի ) has since been one of the Miaphysite Oriental Orthodox churches, which also include the Egyptian Coptic, Ethiopian and Syrian Jaco-bite churches. The majority of Armenians remain members of the national Church, though there are also smaller Armenian churches affiliated with the Catholic Church and various Protestant groups. The 5th-century split, and the subsequent distinc-tiveness of the Armenian Church, explains why Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Armenian juris-dictions often overlap, with Armenian bishops and patriarchs holding offices in cities that also contain bishops and patriarchs from other churches. 17 While the Armenian heartland is in eastern Anatolia, there was a significant medieval Arme-nian diaspora within the Ottoman Empire (Fig. 2). It is difficult to be certain about the date when Armenian immigrants first arrived in İ zmir. It seems that this took place in the late medieval period: in 1375 c. 30,000 Armenians were expelled by the Mamluks from Cilicia, spreading out to Cyprus, Crete and Rhodes, and eventually to İ zmir. 18  During the late medieval period they set-tled in İ zmir in a quarter called ‘Apano Mahallah’, which was very close to the Turkish quarter. 19  This period can be attested archaeologically. In the gar-den of St Stephen’s Armenian Orthodox Cathedral (Fig. 3) there were burials of the 14th century, 20  which indicate that the first Armenian arrivals to İ zmir took place at this date at the latest. A massive wave of Armenians came to İ zmir from the Julfa region on the Azerbaijan-Iran borders, fleeing Persian persecutions. 21  After the 15th century the Armenian quarter (Fig. 4) moved closer to the Greek district in the Fair Area (today’s Kültürpark); thus it became incorporated into the downtown area of post-medieval İ zmir. This quarter was called ‘Haynots’ ( Հայնոց ) on French maps ( quartier arménien ) and was indicated on both sides of the so-called ‘Caravan Road’. Armenians chose to settle on the trade route specifically because of their trading interests. 22  Today Haynots is located in an area between Basmane, i.e. the central train station of İ zmir, and the Kültürpark, and very few surface remains attest to the area’s former Armenian heri-tage. The harbour of İ zmir became more important during the 18th century and Armenian immigra-tion to İ zmir from other parts of Ottoman Empire (including Istanbul) grew. During the 17th to 18th centuries the number of Armenians was 6,000– 8,000, 23  and in 19th century 10,000–12,000. 24  Dur-ing the 19th century Armenians were one of the richest and most sophisticated minority groups in İ zmir. The first Armenian newspaper of the Ottoman Empire was ‘ Արպի   Արարատիան ’ ( Arp’i Araradian , or The Sun of Ararad  ); it was first printed in 1853 in İ zmir. 25  Another was ‘ Արևլիան   Մամոուլ  ’ ( Arevelian Mamoul  , or The Eastern Press ), first printed in the Armenian alphabet in 1879. 26  According to official statistics from 1914, there were some 400,000 people living in the city of Smyrna, of whom 20,000 — 5% of the popula-tion — were Armenians (165,000 were Turks, 150,000 Greeks, 25,000 Jews and another 20,000 were foreigners, half of whom were Italians). 27  These Ottoman statistics show that 11,127 of the 20,766 Armenians in the Province (Sancak) of İ zmir were living in the town centre; the rest were living in rural areas. At this time there were 23 religious institutions, two high schools and 27 primary schools belonging to the Armenian minor-ity. 28  Between 1915 and 1922 a large number of Armenians, especially Armenian Orthodox, left İ zmir and went to France and the USA (sometimes via Greece). Some Catholic and Protestant Arme-nian converts, however, remained in İ zmir after the Great Fire. 29  THE ARMENIAN CHURCHES OF SMYRNABetween the 15th and 20th centuries there were a dozen locations in İ zmir where Armenians lived. Several authors mainly reported on Haynots. 30  In 1845 there was a huge fire here, and only 37 of c. 900 houses were saved. In 1850 the quarter was renewed and a new urban plan set up. The most FIG. 2A medieval Armenian gravestone from the Museum of Adana (photograph, E. Laflı, 2006).  288 ERGÜN LAFLI and   YILDIZ DEVEC İ  BOZKU Ş FIG. 3Late 19th-/early 20th-century postcards of Izmir showing Surp Stepanos (St Stephen’s) Cathedral in Basmane/Haynots; 1. general view; 2. interior view; 3. main gate and the cemetery in the garden; 4. side view with garden; 5. entrance corridor (all from the archive of E. Laflı). took place in 1688 and a second in 1743. The major fire in 1845 damaged the church, and the famous Armenian architect Melkom Yeramian, from Istanbul, restored it in 1858. 31  It is unknown whether the later building of 1858 was constructed on the same site as the previous church and with the same name. After the fire an Italian-type tower was added to the building. The church served the Armenian minority until 1922, at which time it was completely destroyed; today there is no trace of this monumental building. Surp Mesropian Board-ing School for Boys (with a laboratory and 2,000-book library; founded in 1886) and Surp Hripsime Maiden School (founded in 1883) were located adjacent to the church in the Basmane district. 32  In the so-called ‘ İ zmir World Trade Centre’ spectacular building in this quarter was Surp Stepanos, or St Stephen’s Church, which seems to have served as the principal church for the Arme-nian Orthodox minority. It was located on Re ş adiye Avenue, on the corner of Bölükba ş ı Street. This was one of the largest churches of 15th-century İ zmir; it had a cross-shaped form and was sur-rounded by a large garden and cemetery, where most of the graves date to the 16th century (Figs 3, 4). Most of the graves have an indication of the birthplace of the deceased, who srcinated in Armenia. Several religious personages, statesmen and authors were buried here. There were various grave types — not only simple graves, but also sarcophagi  , which were known in Armenian as ‘tamparan’. The first renovation of St Stephen’s  EPIGRAPHIC AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL DOCUMENTS FROM WESTERN ANATOLIA 289 FIG. 4An early 20th-century Izmir postcard with a view of Basmane/Haynots (from the archive of E. Laflı). construction site, west of Kültürpark, there was an Armenian Hospital, dedicated to Surp Krikor Lusavorich and founded in 1801. 33  The American Collegiate Institute of İ zmir was intended to preach to the Armenians and was therefore resettled to Haynots at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century. 34  An Armenian cemetery was located in Kemer, near Haynots, 35  with a second one in Bornova. Between the 15th and 20th centuries there were eight Armenian Orthodox, two Catholic and one Evangelical (Protestant) Armenian churches in the metropolitan area of İ zmir. 36  The Armenian Orthodox churches of İ zmir were:1. Surp Stepanos (St Stephen’s) Cathedral in Basmane/Haynots2. Surp Krikor Lusavorich (St Gregory the Illuminator), within its hospital in Basmane/Haynots (the second largest Armenian church)3. Surp Harutyun (Holy Resurrection) in Basmane/Haynots4. Surp Khatch (Holy Cross) in Bornova5. Surp Garabet (St John the Forerunner) in Karata ş 6. Surp Asdvadzadzin (St Mary) in Kar ş ıyaka7. Surp Hokekalust (The Coming of the Holy Spirit) or Surp Yerrortutyun (The Holy Trinity) in Göztepe8. Surp Takavor (Christ the King) in Bayraklı.The Armenian Catholic churches of İ zmir were:1. Surp Hovhannes (St John the Evangelist) (?) in Alsancak/Punta2. Surp Krikor Lusavorich (?), near the Mekhitarist School in Haynots/Basmane. The postulated location of the Armenian Evan-gelical church was in Haynots, close to the Greek Orthodox Evangelistria church, which is now in the Kültürpark of İ zmir. 37  In the second half of the 19th century some wealthy Armenians settled in Karata ş , in the southern part of the city, on the coastline. Stones from the Hellenistic and Roman Zeus Akraios Temple were used for the construc-tion of the Armenian Cathedral in Karata ş , 38  where Armenians had furthermore built a school, called ‘Vartanyan’. 39 There was a large Armenian minority not only in İ zmir, but also in the city’s immediate environs,
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